Harem Pants


Shopping for jeans used to require the partition of a forty-eight hour window of opportunity dedicated solely to a hung jury like process of painstaking deliberation.

Grappling with a sky-high pile of demin that resembled more of an overcrowded trash heap than a wealth of designer digs, I’d start the journey of trying on fifty different shades of horrible – nothing deep/mercurial/mysterious/sexy about this, though; just death by a full body mirror and a thousand variations of stitching, styles, brands, and colors that ultimately begged the question, “Whhhhhy can’t I effortlessly slip into a single pair of skinny jeans?”

At five foot eight with a simple, boy like figure, often metaphorically referred to as an “ironing board” by friends and family (so flattering, thank you loved ones), it didn’t seem like it should be all that difficult – and yet, for the first eighteen years of my life, skinny jeans shopping actualized into nothing more than sulking out of a series of department stores with something that was tolerable enough, the lesser of a hundred pairs of evils that would hopefully be at least one step above matronly waistlines, muffin tops and bad butts.

So when the JBrand jegging found me my freshman year of college, you can imagine how elated I was by the promise of something that was consistently consistent in its ability to fit and flatter.  It was as if JBrand somehow heard the silent, rueful cries of desperation emanating from the inside of my stark mental institution dressing room walls and sent the ultimate remedy — a token of appreciation from the denim Gods that whispered, “We feel your pain.  Now, here’s a custom fit cut for hanging in there with us.”

I stripped my closet down to nothing and then re-stocked it with the skinny jegging in every color.  And, with the quick click of a mouse and the implementation of a credit card number, I had a brand new collection of cashmere lined leather glove esque fitting pants, saturating my wardrobe, giving it a boost of life and a more confident identity. Whether I was sporting my skinnies with a pointed toe Escada heel (My go-to night on the town shoes in college via kleptomania and my mother’s closet) or to class the following morning, my skinnies were never very far.

Like, ever (Yes, a very thinly veiled “We’re Never Getting Back Together” lyrical reference; I love you Taylor Swift)

It was only recently, as I’ve started keeping this blog and tapping more deeply into my passion for fashion, that I realized that the skinny, however fabulous it may be, could not exist as the sole component of my pants wardrobe.  Variety is, in fact, the spice of life, and while I would generally consider myself to be fairly amenable to change, I sometimes need a major shove in the right direction to serve as a catalyst — a point of launch, if you will.  Of late, I’ve been taking note of different silhouettes, studying how the addition of a strong harem, for instance, can change the whole mood of an outfit and take it from basic, neat, clean and safe to utterly show stopping.  As a woman (I still struggle with that word and often want to scream GIRL at this point, but I digress), in her mid twenties, I’ve also been undergoing a series of personal adaptations that I imagine many of us are experiencing in today’s less than predictable world.

Questions about my career, what I want out of life, where exactly I’m going, and which city I’d ultimately like to call home, are all cropping up, and I’m…evolving. While I love those skinnies, I no longer rely on them like a crutch, a safety net that will guarantee a good outfit, if a ‘good outfit’ were considered the doppelganger of the look that I sported just yesterday.  Now, I’m a little bit more confident about who I am; so it stands to reason that my fashion choices aren’t about safety; instead, they’re about self-expression and trying new things that expand my once iron-clad parameters.

Here, I present to you a glimpse into a recent experiment in proportions.  Loose fitting, pseudo harem pants with an oversized nautical silk stripe = me.  Well…me, today, right now, in this moment. And, hanging neatly in a growing section of my closet, is a collection of newly acquired, pants/maxi skirts/wide legged trousers that rival even the ‘”skinny jegging section’” in size.

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